Going Bald? Fear Not, Scientists are Developing a New Cure for Baldness

new research and possible cure for for male baldness

There are definitely some people out there who can pull off “the bald look”, but if we are going to be really honest – most of us would prefer to have the choice between a lush mane and shaving it all off. Today between 50 million men and 30 million women in the United States experience complete or partial loss of hair, a condition that can cause feelings such as embarrassment, low self esteem and even stress.

Throughout history, hair has always played an important roll in a person’s self-image, but also the image they present to others. For men, a healthy head of hair has been equated with vigor and virility; for women it has represented femininity and beauty. Losing hair can greatly alter those impressions.

But due to a number of researchers who believe in the magic of stem cells, there is increasing hope that the regrowth of human hair will soon be possible – all thanks to a few optimistic researchers, and some laboratory mice.

Dr. Cheng-Ming Chuong, professor of pathology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, California, is the senior investigator of a study published in August 2017, by the National Academy of Sciences and funded by the National Institutes of Health.

He and his team of researchers were researching a way in which hair follicles can be grown from skin cells reproduced in-vitro in the lab. In the study, the researchers outlined a step-by-step sequence of events in the production of hair follicles from skin. They were able to generate hair by uncovering the major molecular events that are needed for the growth of the skin. The discovery was made possible by testing the sequence on mice.

New research for male baldness
A team of researchers are discovering a way in which hair follicles can be grown from skin cells.

Many aging individuals do not grow hair well because cells lose their regenerative ability over time. With these new findings, the researchers were able to make adult mouse cells produce hair again, Dr. Chuong states in a press release.

The researchers at the lab cannot confirm when exactly human trials can begin, but they are optimistic that their findings can soon treat conditions such as alopecia and baldness. The procedure would use the patient’s own steam cells in order to grow skin that has hair follicles. This first step would happen in a lab, and afterwards the skin would be transplanted onto the bald areas of the scalp.

Lay the Groundwork for Healthier Hair by Taking a Supplement

The new stem cell research is very exciting, but this is not a procedure that will become an option for people with thinning hair today. By taking a supplement that works from within, strengthening the health of both your body and your hair, you can lay the groundwork today for future healthy hair growthNutrafol’s supplement is especially designed to provide the essential nutrients for growing hair as well as target the potential triggers of thinning hair. With thorough research, its team of doctors has been digging deeper to find the root causes of compromised hair health and uncover the underlying factors of hair thinning.

Nutrafol has been shown to raise levels of the body’s natural antioxidant defenses, combat aging, increase factors that support the follicles and boost the immune system. With this, the damaged follicles are given a chance to heal from within.

Balance is Key When It Comes to Healthy Hair

Each follicle has its own independent biological clock that ticks and signals the follicle to grow hair, lose hair or lay dormant. However, when it is out of balance, under attack, or its environment is altered, the process of hair production is disrupted.

New science proves how a multitude of internal and external triggers create an imbalance in the body’s immune system and metabolic pathways, making supplements a good future investment for your hair.

Dr. Cheng-Ming Chuong and his researchers are, like the doctors at Nutrafol, working hard to understand and combat hair loss. Take charge of your own hair health today by taking a supplement that provides essential nutrients to your hair and your body!

Female Pattern Baldness – An Overview

female baldness

Up to 50 percent of men experience hair loss before hitting 50. Yes, that many, and yes, the issue is that common – as are the treatments. Everything from transplants costing thousands of dollars; to the well known drug Propecia, with its libido-losing side effects; to faithful natural solutions that are long-lasting because they work on making the entire body healthy rather than focusing only on the hair.

The main type of hair loss for both genders is androgenetic alopecia, also known as female pattern hair loss or male pattern hair loss.

Female pattern baldness may not be as common, but for those affected it can be even harder, as a shaved head is sometimes not a desired look among women as it is for men. No matter the reason for the hair loss, the anxiety and stigma that follows with female pattern baldness is stressful for many.

What is Androgenetic Alopecia?

Harvard Medical School wrote this about androgenetic alopecia:
“As the name suggests, androgenetic alopecia involves the action of the hormones called androgens. Which are essential for normal male sexual development and have other important functions in both sexes, including sex drive and regulation of hair growth. The condition may be inherited and involve several different genes. It can also result from an underlying endocrine condition. Such as overproduction of androgen or an androgen-secreting tumor on the ovary, pituitary, or adrenal gland. In either case, the alopecia is likely related to increased androgen activity. But unlike androgenetic alopecia in men, in women the precise role of androgens is harder to determine.”

What Causes Female Pattern Baldness?

The causes are many, including medical conditions, medications, and physical or emotional stress. When the clinicians explain female pattern hair loss, they most commonly use the Ludwig Classification from 1977. The Ludwig Classification divides female pattern hair loss into three categories:

  • Type I is mild, with minimal thinning that can be camouflaged with hair styling techniques.
  • Type II moderate and is characterized by decreased volume and noticeable widening of the mid-line part.
  • Type III is extensive with a see-through appearance (sometimes total baldness) on the top of the scalp.

 

Almost every woman will eventually develop some kind of female pattern hair loss. When it occurs will depend on your DNA. For some it can start as early as puberty, for others during menopause. The risk rises with age, and the risk is higher for women who have a history of hair loss on either side of the family.

What Can You Do?

The most common treatment is through medication – here are some of them:

Anti-androgens
Some anti-angrogens are Aldactone and Propecia, but these androgen receptor-blocking drugs are not really for women to use. There are only a few studies on what affect they have on women, which means little reliable evidence that they are effective or even safe. Therefore these options are really only open to men.

female hair loss
Almost every woman will eventually develop some kind of female pattern baldness. When it will occur, depends on your DNA.

Iron Supplements
When women lose hair, iron deficiency can be one of the causes. Get your clinic to test you and see if you are short on iron. If the iron level is less than 70 nanograms per milliliter, then your doctor may suggest taking an iron supplement.

Botanical Supplements
Going green is always a wise suggestion. Botanical supplements contain many of the nutrients your hair needs. These kind of supplements are usually sourced from herbs and vitamins that go along well. The ingredients target the potential triggers of thinning hair and provide your hair with the essential nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

Impossible to Grow a Movember Beard? You Could Have Alopecia Barbae

Alopecia Barbae and facial har

Movember is upon us and with that a lot of unshaven beards and mustaches. November is the month that represents the fight against diseases that primarily affect men, prostate cancer in particular. To show solidarity with this cause, thousands of men drop their buzzer and let beards grow freely for the month. But this is easier said than done for some. Not all men can easily grow facial hair, and though it can have genetic reasons, there could also be an underlying medical reason.

Genetic Reasons Why Facial Hair Will Not Grow

The main reason why some men cannot grow a full-length beard is that they are less sensitive to the male hormone testosterone. Testosterone synthesizes into another hormone called dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. DHT decides how much facial hair you grow. If you are more sensitive to these hormones you will grow more facial hair and vice versa. If this is the case, there is nothing you can do about it. However, there is also a possibility that you are suffering from a medical condition called Alopecia Barbae.

Movember Could Help Reveal Whether You Suffer From Alopecia

You will not know whether you are capable of growing a full beard until you try. So Movember could be the perfect opportunity to find out whether you may suffer from a particular type of hair loss. Alopecia barbae only affects facial hair, not the hair on the head.

The most common type of hair loss, androgenetic alopecia, affects most men and women as we age. For men, it is most common that it begins with a receding frontal hairline. In women, the hair normally thins out gradually and begins on the crown of the head. There is also a form of hair loss called alopecia areata, which is considered an autoimmune disease. If you suffer from this, your immune system attacks your hair follicles and they stop producing hair.

Alopecia barbae is more specific embodiment of the general condition, alopecia areata. Both are caused by an autoimmune disease, but alopecia barbae is the diagnosis when the facial hair is affected. It usually starts with a small bald patch in your beard, but can quickly become several bald patches. Many men ignore it at first, not paying much attention to a small bald spot. But identifying it early on can make it easier to find a solution.

What to do About it

Unfortunately there is no good cure for this type of hair loss as it is the body’s own immune system attacking the follicles. Some have seen results with steroid injections or tacrolimus cream.

When it comes to natural treatments, there is little science to back up their efficacy. Pure aloe vera and a combination of essential oils of thyme, lavender, rosemary and cedar wood applied on the effected spots, are said to have produced positive results in some men. Aloe vera is a well known anti-oxidant, that can help remove toxic elements from the skin.

Alopecia Barbae
Alopecia barbae only affects facial hair, not the hair on the head. So, movember could help reveal whether you suffer from it.

You can also check for other symptoms, like hair loss on the scalp, fatigue, changes in your weight, or trouble sleeping. This could mean you have a thyroid disorder, which is treatable.

Make sure you get a nutritious diet and all the essential vitamins you need to grow healthy hair. You can get these essential nutrients for healthy hair growth by adding a natural vitamin supplement. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important for all your hair growth. On top of a balanced diet, make sure you exercise, get enough sleep and drink enough water. And remember, you can still support Movember and the fight against prostate cancer, even if you do not grow a beard!

Samumed, the Biotech Startup that Targets Stem Cells to Cure Hair Loss

Samumed is the name of a biotech startup based in San Diego. It was founded in 2008, and the company has since then focused on developing tissue-level regeneration and finding a cure for degenerative diseases. CEO Osman Kibar is a billionaire who has his mind set on reversing the effects of aging. One step in that mission is focusing on curing baldness. And it seems like the company is succeeding.

What is Samumed?

This company has already received hundreds of millions of dollars in funding thanks to its promise to find a way to erase wrinkles, regrow hair and even regrow cartilage in bad joints. Samumed could be the first company to actually slow down aging. Considering the secrecy around its science and research, and other biotech scams like the one of Theranos, the blood testing company that was valued at $9 billion but turned out to be nothing, people have been skeptical of Samumed as well.

But the owners of Samumed know all this and say that even they thought the technology was too good to be true. However, even though the company hasn’t revealed exactly how things work, they are transparent with their data. Any product will also have to be approved by the FDA before entering the market.

How Does it Work?

In the body, there are progenitor stem cells, which repair certain organs. The repairing process is initiated by a set of proteins called the WNT pathway. This group of proteins is in charge of regulating cells, so if you adjust the amount of certain WNT genes, you can trigger the stem cells into repairing certain organs. As we grow older, our levels of WNT go down. This is why, for example, older people often get osteoporosis. And that is because the WNT activity in out body doesn’t produce enough bone cells.

This is the function Samumed is planning on targeting in curing baldness. It has already tested its topical treatment for androgenetic alopecia, the pattern baldness that most commonly affects middle aged men. The company is hoping that the treatment will activate the WNT pathways that are related to hair growth, and make dormant hair follicles wake up again and start producing hair. The treatment is called SM04554.

Samumed
Samumed claims to be able to reverse some of the most common effects of aging – bad joints, wrinkles and hair loss.

Studies on Efficacy

Last year, Samumed presented a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. In the test, researchers divided 300 men into three test groups. One received a .15% dose of the treatment, one received a .25% dose of the treatment and one was a placebo group. SM04554 works much like other hair loss treatments on the market – you apply a topical cream on the scalp.

The cream was applied once a day for 90 days. 45 days after the treatment stopped, researchers analyzed the results and realized SM04554 was indeed very effective. Both the groups that used the real treatment saw an increase in hair count – but the results were more efficient in the group that used the smaller dose.

The men that were given 0.15% saw an increase in hair growth of about 10%, while the men that were given the 0.25% dose saw an increase of about 7%. The placebo group kept losing hair. Important to note is that this was a relatively short test period. But still, subjects continued to see results even after the treatment period ended. Even better – researchers observed no side effects.

So, What is Next?

Samumed is currently testing seven different drugs in human trials. The company plans on having their products available on the market by the end of the year. The WNT technology could be efficient in many different areas. Most notably, Samumed plans on using it to find treatments for colon cancer, degenerative-disc disease, tendinopathy and wrinkle eradication.

If it is true that Samumed’s drugs can reverse common aging effects like hair loss, wrinkles and bad knees, they would be the first of their kind. We should know by the end of the year whether the products will pass FDA regulations. Until then, go the traditional way and live a healthy life. For now, that is the best we can do to slow down aging.

Text by Emma von Zeipel

Hair Loss Causes: Could Your Hairstyle be to Blame?

Hair Loss

There are many different causes of hair loss, and also many misconceptions about them. How we wear our hair most often is based on what is most convenient or what looks good. This seemingly trivial task is something that we do not pay much attention to on a daily basis, and we only get to focus our attention on it when things start to change, like if we see the first signs of thinning or shedding hair.

We often attribute hair loss to internal factors such as our genes and the quality of our health but to many, it may come as a surprise to know that the choice of hairstyle can actually contribute to hair loss.

Baldness, another hair loss cause, scientifically referred to as alopecia, refers to partial or complete loss of hair on the scalp and in other areas of the body. This condition comes in many forms but the kind that is caused by wearing certain hairstyles is called traction alopecia, which is hair loss that results from styles that require the hair to be tugged or pulled, either gently or tightly for extended or frequent periods of time.

Hairstyles That Cause Traction Alopecia

Ponytails

The easiest way to keep hair from your face is to gather it toward the back or top of the head and hold it together with a tie. Although this hairstyle may be the most convenient to maintain, wearing the hair pulled backward or upward too tightly has its disadvantages. Its association with traction alopecia has been observed as early as in 1907. Women in Greenland were found to have receding hairlines due to prolonged wearing of tight ponytails.

Braids

Evidence of hair braiding or plaiting in history is shown on many archaeological findings, for example the statuette Venus of Willendorf that was dug up in a 1908 excavation near Willendorf, Austria, that was estimated to have been made between 28,000-25,000 BCE.

Through the years, interlacing strands of hair into braids has evolved from being a means to communicate a person’s status in society into a social art form among cultures that use the time to braid to socialize and teach their children.

Today, braids are used by both women and men with long hair and are popular among African-Americans. A total of 326 African-American women participated in a 2011 study. The study measured risk factors contributing to a common condition among them called central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) – hair loss that usually starts at the crown of the head and spreads out to the periphery. The study concluded that there is a higher risk of CCCA caused by hairstyles causing traction or pulling.

Cornrows

While they may seem similar, braids and cornrows have distinct characteristics that set them apart. Braids use three or more strands weaving and overlapping and are tied at the end by a rubber band or clip. They are easier and faster to do and are usually let loose after a short period of time.

Cornrows, on the other hand, are tighter plaits that are woven very closely to the scalp. Because they take more time and effort to create, people with cornrows often wear them for considerable periods of time. This makes maintenance more challenging as the hair gets washed less frequently to maintain its form, which can lead to bacterial infection and eventual hair loss.

Hair Loss Causes
Tightly woven cornrows pulls on your scalp and can cause traction alopecia.

Dreadlocks

Commonly referred to as dreads, this become a permanent hairstyle by those who choose to wear it because of the time it takes to create. Dreads are teased, knotted and left to grow for weeks at a time. As hair grows and sheds through time, it gets tangled into more knots and results in a matted look. Dreads are washed less often – usually every three to seven days. Those who wear them sometimes use a bandana or scarf to absorb oil when they sleep.

Like cornrows, dreads bring a higher risk of hair thinning and hair loss because of increased tension. They also bring a higher risk infection from clogged pores due to oil build-up. Traction alopecia may appear to be non-cicatricial or without scars in the initial stages. However, a delayed tension and traction can cause the hair follicles to be permanently damaged.

 

Buns

 If you are wearing a bun, you might want to go easy on its tightness. Buns worn by ballerinas or librarians are usually pulled back very hard. This is not limited for women as some long-haired men nowadays opt to wear a man bun as a trend. When worn regularly, the scalp can appear to be red and itchy with multiple hairs breaking off. This is a result of constant tugging at the roots – all clinical signs of traction alopecia.

Weaves

An artificial way to make short or medium hair appear longer or thicker. This is achieved  through the use of hair extensions that are either woven, glued or taped. These are anchored either to the hair or scalp. Although they may provide a temporary boost to your confidence, they can make you a candidate for permanent alopecia. This is because it strains the hair, damages the scalp, and causes scarring.

Avoid the Common Hair Loss Causes

Hairstyles are worn to be functional and fashionable. But care should be exercised in making sure that they do not cause damage to our hair and scalp.

To avoid temporary or permanent alopecia, hairstyles should:

Be worn loosely and alternately in short periods of time to avoid the damage that constant tension and traction brings.

Allow the hair to be shampooed and washed regularly to avoid sebum build-up and infection. Also, avoid regular use of chemicals or heat that can dry or damage hair.

Text by Anne Sarte

Photo credits: Raíssa Ruschel via Flickr

Rod Waddington via Flickr